How to interview like a politician

Posted by Amanda Augustine

09:00 AM

Take a cue from the political pros to nail your next job interview. 

PoliticianElection Day is here! Today in the United States, folks will cast ballots for the general election of their public officials. No doubt your television has been bombarded with guest appearances, live debates, and commercials showcasing your local candidates for weeks.

When you think about it, running for office is similar to conducting a job search. Just as a politician must convince his or her constituents of his qualifications for office, as a job seeker you must convince the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job. Take a cue from the political pros to nail your next job interview with these three tips.  

Stay on message

When politicians are put on the spot during an interview, they usually manage to deliver a seamless response that acknowledges the question and then steers the conversation back to less controversial topics.  In other words, the candidate is able to “stay on message,” no matter how hard the interviewer tries to derail the conversation. Before each job interview, carefully review the job description and identify the top three requirements for the role. Use those as a guide to craft your talking points. The goal is to practice explaining why you’re qualified for the position. 

Keep up with current events

Politicians need to stay informed about what's going on in their communities. Similarly, it’s important for you to stay current with news related to your target industry and organization. Subscribe to industry-specific publications and set up Google News Alerts for the company in the days leading up to your interview. If you know someone who works at the organization, set up an informational interview to pick their brain and get a better sense of what’s going on before you interview. This will help you develop insightful questions to ask the hiring manager during your meeting.

Show your passion and interest

In politics and the job search, it’s not just about what you say that matters – it’s how you say it. Great politicians and job seekers speak with confidence, sincerity and passion. Make direct eye contact with the interviewer and practice your interviewing skills so you can confidently speak to your qualifications. Make sure you have a genuine reason for wanting the job – whether it’s the projected growth in the industry, the company’s culture, or the work you’ll get to do – so you can show your passion for the role. Remember, when all else is equal, the person who is sincerely interested in and excited about the role will land the job.

Use these tips to prepare for your next interview and you’ll win the position by a landslide! Click on the following link for more information on interview preparation.


Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Interview